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York postgraduate students given three minutes to impress

Posted on 24 June 2013

Three University of York postgraduate students are aiming to inspire an audience with their research as they compete in the inaugural 3 Minute Thesis UK Competition.


Postgraduate students Keir Bailey, Ema Sullivan-Bissett and James Stovold at the York 3 Minute Thesis competition

Held at the Leeds University Union on Tuesday, 25 June, the competition will bring together postgraduate students from across the country, challenging them to communicate the impact of their research in just three minutes using plain and simple English. 

York PhD students Ema Sullivan-Bissett, from the Department of Philosophy, Jennifer South-Palomares, Department of Psychology and Frank Soboczenski, Department of Computer Science are hoping to impress the panel of judges and win up to £150.

The University of York held its first local 3 Minute Thesis competition last year, with a second competition held earlier this month. This year’s York competition, and the top prize of an iPad, was won by Ema Sullivan-Bissett.

Ema impressed judges, as well as an audience of sixth-formers, and members of the public and the University Council, with her research on belief.

Ema said: “I think that being able to communicate your research to a non-specialist audience is hugely important as it can demonstrate why that research matters and the contribution it might make to wider society. I found taking part in this event very challenging, but it also became tremendously rewarding when audience members approached me and asked some really excellent questions about my research which I hadn't considered before." 

I think that being able to communicate your research to a non-specialist audience is hugely important as it can demonstrate why that research matters and the contribution it might make to wider society

Ema Sullivan-Bissett

James Stovold, from the Department of Computer Science, won second place, while Keir Bailey from the Department of Biology came third.

Sixth-form students from Pocklington near York, Keighley and Wakefield joined the judging panel and provided feedback to the participants. A teacher from Pocklington School commented: "The students were fully engaged throughout the day and intrigued by the topics presented.”

The York 3 Minute Thesis Competition is organised by the University’s Researcher Development Team to help develop researchers’ academic, presentation and research communication skills. The ten finalists selected to take part in the competition all received training in public engagement and presentation skills.

Jennifer Chubb, from the University’s Researcher Development Team, said: “3 Minute Thesis provides our PhD students with an excellent platform from which to engage with the public. This is an increasingly important part of their skills development as researchers and influencers both inside and outside of the University environment.”

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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